Friends remember maintenance worker killed by 95-year-old assisted living resident

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LAFAYETTE, Colo. (KDVR) – A 95-year-old man accused of shooting and killing a maintenance director at a Lafayette assisted living facility made his first appearance in court on Friday, the same day 911 calls were released, describing the frantic moments inside the facility.

Ricardo Medina Rojas was killed on Wednesday after he was shot in the head.

Several employees at Legacy Assisted Living at Lafayette described the fear that many felt, worried that 95-year-old Okey Payne wasn’t done shooting.

“He still has a gun in his hand! We all ran to the back of my work,” one caller told 911 dispatchers. “He’s still sitting in the sunroom at work holding a gun. Okey said, ‘You’re next,’ and that’s why we ran.”

A former part-owner of the facility’s management company tells FOX31 that even with rules in place, firearms can still get into a facility like Legacy.

“It’s not a secured facility, meaning it’s not where folks with severe dementia go. They can go in and out as much as they want. It’s like having an apartment,” Amy White-Tanabe explained.

White-Tanabe knew Medina Rojas very well. She says he was as dependable as they come. He was her first call whenever any of the company’s other facilities were facing a maintenance emergency.

“I would call him and he would drive hours,” she said.

A vigil was held for Medina Rojas on Friday night outside of the assisted living facility. Friends and co-workers gathered to share memories of their loved one.

“He was a very, very kind man and a friend to everyone. I’m still in shock,” said Ana Laura Ontiveros, a former colleague. “All he did was show up for work and now he’s gone.”

Ontiveros and White-Tanabe both say they’ll remember Medina Rojas’ love for his family the most, especially for his two daughters.

“I rarely saw him when he wasn’t showing me pictures of his daughters and telling me about their lives,” White-Tanabe said.

Medina Rojas was also an organ donor, and friends tell FOX31 that someone received his heart on Friday.

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